In March, Bixby’s Drew Pate and his nephew, Durant resident Anthony Pate, walked 320 miles in six days in support of Wounded Veterans of Oklahoma, a nonprofit that helps veterans adapt to civilian life.
Both men are U.S. Marines and combat veterans. TulsaPeople asked Drew Pate, who retired after 21 years in the military, to share more about their walk across the state.
Why did you choose this method to raise awareness and funds?
I had been watching some stuff on TV where people were circumnavigating the globe … I thought, man, I would like to do that someday. Then I thought, I would want to do it for a cause. I called Anthony, and he agreed to do this with me. We were looking for an organization specific to Oklahoma. This is a great organization that does a lot to help wounded veterans. We raised just over $4,100.
How did you get from Muldrow to Sweetwater, Oklahoma?
We tried to keep a 3-4 mile per hour pace. We took what we could carry, including some food. We slept outside along I-40 till we got to Oklahoma City and stayed the night in a hotel. We thought we might get into trouble sleeping outside in Oklahoma City, plus by that time we needed a good night’s sleep and to ice our knees and ankles.
Do you have injuries from your military service, physical or otherwise?
I’ve had one total knee replacement and four spine fusions, so I have titanium plates holding my spine together. I experienced some of the PTSD stuff, too. Unfortunately, that’s a byproduct of the type of work we do. I am 100 percent disabled through the VA, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything in the world.